Our Top Pick for 2018: Transformers Age of Extinction Voyager Class Evasion Mode Optimus Prime
Read our full review.
For 32 years now, Transformer toys have been delivering enjoyment to millions upon millions of individuals around the world. These toys tell the epic story of the heroic Autobots who wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons, and they do so by a war of staggering numbers: Hasbro and its partners have crafted over 7,000 unique Transformers toys since the property’s inception. With so many of these toys to choose from, which are best? We’ve pored through the latest series of Transformers toys and come up with some of the best of the series. We’ve also provided a ballin’ on a budget item in case you’re looking for a low-cost robot.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
|Transformers Age of Extinction Voyager Class Evasion Mode Optimus Prime Figure(Discontinued by...||197 Reviews||$59.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Transformers: Dark of the Moon - MechTech Voyager - Megatron||144 Reviews||$89.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Transformers Age of Extinction Mega 1-Step Bumblebee Figure||336 Reviews||$49.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Transformers Age of Extinction Generations Deluxe Class Snarl Figure (Discontinued by manufacturer)||140 Reviews||$18.90||Buy on Amazon|
#1. Transformers Age of Extinction Voyager Class Evasion Mode Optimus Prime
If you had to guess who’d our Gold Pick transformer would be, wouldn’t you hope that it would be the greatest Autobot of them all? Our Gold Pick Transformer is the holder of the matrix of leadership, Optimus Prime. This toy is based off of the version of Optimus that appeared in the Transformers: Age of Extinction film and thusly, is designed with the “evasion mode” in mind. Like almost every version of this character, this Optimus Prime comes in a red, blue, and grey color scheme. His body has a greater degree of mechanical bumpiness, which is typical for this generation of the toy series.
Similarly to the majority of the previous generations of this leader of the Autobots, this version of Optimus transforms into a tractor-trailer. Throughout the movie series, director Michael Bay has often stated that Optimus looks better transformed into a modern-style tractor-trailer; this means that he will not have the generation one style flat front when he’s a vehicle in the movies. As a seeming concession to the Transformer traditionalists, and even though in the movie Optimus utilizes a modern vehicle design, the toy series has taken a design cue from the flat front design that many collectors enjoy from the first generation of Transformers.
The similarities between the tractor-trailer mode of Optimus from this movie-based series and the original series are obvious. They only differ minutely in size and the G1 variant has two smokestacks whereas the new version utilizes one. Since these toys have about three decades between them, you can expect that there will be a few functional differences to account for how each toy transforms, but Hasbro really captured the essence of the original toy in this version of Optimus.
Where the vehicle mode utilizes a very G1 design aesthetic, the humanoid robot mode has all of the design cues that have made modern Optimus such a popular character. Converting to this mode is something of a complicated process but it’s done this way to maintain all of the design notes from the movie and all of the areas of articulation that will make this toy fun to play with. In totality, it takes about 18 steps to convert vehicle mode Optimus to robot mode.
This version of Optimus uses his iconic ion cannon and has very detailed robotic components throughout the frame of the toy. His head is the mask-less version that we know from the movies and his arms are almost muscled in design. A really nice design cue for this toy is the fact that his front cab section, which serves as a chest in robot mode, has clear plastic windshields. This feature looks really cool and flies in the face of prior versions of the character that featured painted on unibody type windshields.
As a Gold Pick product, and as a representation of the fearsomely heroic Optimus Prime, you should know that this iconic robot will have some great consumer and critical reviews. On Amazon, 80 percent of the reviewing audience who purchased this toy have felt it was worthy of a four star review or better. One five star review loved the overall build quality but noted the difficulty in the transformation process (but doesn’t Optimus demand a little extra of us all?): “This isn’t too easy to transform, and the instructions only show you how to change it from a truck into a robot, yet it comes in robot form so you have to figure out how to reverse it, but it’s a nice figure in both forms.”
#2. Transformers MechTech Voyager Megatron
Any Transformer fan knows that Optimus’s heroic excellence is neatly counterbalanced by his greatest foe Megatron’s capacity for dastardly duplicitous behavior. Regardless, as the retched other side of Optimus’s shiny coin, Megatron has his own degree of greatness that is well captured in this movie version of the character.
In the movie that this toy is derived from, Megatron is a wretched creature who is licking his wound from a prior ignominious defeat. As such there are several cool design elements that make this character appear harried and diminished.
Megatron has had many alternate forms over the years. In generation one he transformed into a Walther P-38 pistol, and in future versions he has had forms ranging from a laser cannon to a spaceship. Capturing that other side of Optimus’s heroic coin vibe, this version also transforms into a mack truck, but while Optimus’s trailer is brightly colored and heroic looking, Megatron’s version appears dull colored and aggressive. This evil-looking truck even sports a spiked grill that adds an degree of menace to the vehicle’s exterior. Unlike our Gold Pick Transformer model, Megatron actually comes with a trailer that looks like it’s packed with sketchy, probably illegal materials; it even comes with a sketchy looking tarp that is incorporated neatly into robot mode. Another really cool feature is the articulation that is present in the trailer section,section; you can actually pivot this part as if it was an actual trailer extension.
You can’t always be a truck from hell can you? Transforming our Silver Pick Transformer from mack truck to robot takes quite a few steps. The legs are formed from the trailer section and take a little bit of tabbing and twisting to get the full legs section. A really neat feature of this is the “mechtech” portion of this robot. Functioning as the front end of the trailer in vehicle mode, the mechtech cannon has a spring loaded claw that is incredibly cool looking. You can lock the claw in place if you want or mount the cannon on top of the trailer during vehicle operations; the choice is yours. Once you are done with the transformation process, you are left with a very intense looking robot who’s previously mentioned tarp now serves as a hooded cloak that hides a physical disfigurement that was earned in the previous movie. One thing is sure with this robot: he’s had it rough, but he’s determined to push his evil agendas to fruition, no matter what the cost.
72 percent of the 141 reviews on Amazon have given this toy a positive, four star or above rating. One reviewer, who granted it a five star review had this to say about this toy’s design: “Megatron is back again, better than ever! Megatron returns with a sweet robot mode and the just as good-looking vehicle form of a Mack Truck. The Mechtech feature of a blaster converting into a fusion cannon is a nice touch. This gives Megatron a feature similar to the old school G1 days. The durability is an A++ all around”
#3. Transformers Mega 1-Step Bumblebee Figure
Our Bronze Pick is the second most well-known Autobot who’s heroic antics place him front and center in a lot of the Autobot’s numerous exploits. Originally designed after a Volkswagen Bug, Bumblebee has had a plethora of changes over the years; most notably his death and resurrection into the form of Goldbug in the 1990s. Recently in the movies, Bumblebee has eschewed the form factor of the rounded beetle design and metamorphosed into a golden hued Camaro!
This Camaro form is as sleek and detailed as the vehicle itself. Present are all of the venting designs, lithe curves, and unique grille structure that the Camaro has been known for over the years. Along the side you can see Bumblebee’s pride and joy; his Autobot insignia. His vehicle mode also features a cool racing stripe down the middle that makes him look very sporty. The attention to detail that Hasbro has baked into this form makes this mode of transformation an almost model worthy toy.
This mode of transformation is a little less model-realistic than the vehicle form; as a matter of fact, this mode is somewhat boxy in comparison. This is because the manufacturer clearly wanted a better looking vehicle mode that looksed speedy, and while robot mode might have had to sacrifice, there are still enough points of articulation to make this Bumblebee a great toy to pose and play with, and that’s precisely what this line of Transformers was designed for: play. This line is the flip and change line of toys. These only take a single step to fully transform the robot from vehicle to robot and vice versa. They are also designed to be more durable and thusly, are better for younger Transformers fans. This version of Bumblebee also included a disc launching feature that allows him to fire discs from his right arm.
Insofar as positive Amazon reviews, this version of Bumblebee has a 64 percent positivity rating. One five star rated reviewer had this to say about this product: “My 7 year old picked this out to use his gift cards from his birthday on. I was skeptical, I thought it was a lot for what it appeared to be. I guess I still think that to an extent, however my son LOVES it. He has literally not put it down in three days! It appears to be pretty sturdily made and has come through what I estimate to be 1000 transformations so far, in good working order.”
#4. Transformers Age of Extinction Generations Deluxe Class Snarl Figure
Want to play with your favorite robots in disguise but don’t have a ton of money to spend on the more expensive, feature rich bots? If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you can still get some amazing Transformers. Everyone has heard of the chaotic, yet heroic Dinobots and their fierce exploits have been featured repeatedly in two of the movies and in almost all of the televised adventures of the Transformers. The stegosaurus transforming Snarl is the budgetary bot that we’ll be reviewing for this pick, and he’s startlingly detailed for his low price point.
Snarl’s dinosaur mode is really cool looking. He’s a bright green stegosaurus that features flanged back fins, muscled-looking robotic legs, and a small head that looks fearsome. His tail is spiked and sharp-looking and his overall look certainly adds a frightening air to the overall aesthetic of this Transformer. His edges are all very angular and his legs are also all very well articulated for some truly brutal Jurassic era-inspired adventures.
Robot mode appears just as monstrous as transformed mode. The sharp edges and fins that made the dinosaur appear fearsome, actually make the robot look somewhat regal with a crown-like structure encircling his head and flanged fins serving as spaulder-like structures on his shoulders. Snarl transforms into this mode in 15 steps that are actually not very hard to manage and he is also very durable for smaller hands.
Snarl is a very well-reviewed toy. On Amazon, 87 percent of the reviewing audience who purchased this toy have granted it a four or five star rating. One great five star testimonial really summarizes the cool aesthetic of this beastly bot: “Ever since I began my AoE Dinobots collection, I have been dying to get this one since he’s so hard to find at my local Target or Wal-Mart. Snarl is easily one of the best, if not THE best, looking Dinobot out of the 7 in the toy line. The color scheme used for him suits him well: mainly green with purple, and some areas that are a black/gray color. The spines are a clear translucent, with a shade of yellowish green to them.”
Over the years, Transformers toys have been constructed in a plethora of materials. The first generation was almost invariably comprised of plastic, which made these toys durable, semi-flexible, and made the edges a little safer for younger children to play with. In future generations of the toy line, Hasbro and its partners have created lines of the toy series that were made of die cast metal or employed this material within the construction of its plastic toys. Die-cast metal is a lot heavier than plastic, so if you’re looking to purchase a Transformers toy for a young child, consider getting them a plastic robot since its lighter, easier to play with, and isn’t hard enough to cause injury.
This one can be considered common sense: Transformers are designed to transform and the method of doing this that they employ varies from robot to robot. You don’t want a toy that looks good as a robot but when it’s transformed, really doesn’t look like any type of vehicle that you’ve ever seen. The cool aspect of these toys is that if you’re a collector, you can display your Transformer in either form, or even in between, and it should look awesome. When looking for a new Transformer, be sure that you like both forms and that the method of transformation isn’t too cheap-feeling or overcomplicated. The key to these toys is to have fun, and an overcomplicated process will rob you of this sensation, at least to a degree.
If you have children who will be playing with these toys, you’ll want the Transformer that you select to have a high degree of articulation. Articulation is the ability to move the joints in a semi-natural way; knees and elbows bend, the head pivots, and the hips twist. As a side effect of the transformative nature if these toys, articulation has been sacrificed. In the past, there have been several models of Transformers who have very little articulation, and for children, that diminishes the fun factor noticeably. In recent years, toy manufacturers have learned how to maintain many active points of articulation on Transformers toys, all while maintaining the fantasy of the transformed form. When searching for a new toy for your children, take a look at the points of articulation; your kids will thank you.
Over the years there have been many different types of Transformers. From the basic Autobot vs. Decepticon variations, to more intricate variations like standard vs. triple changer varieties, you can find many types of Transformers out there across the generational runs. You may want Optimus Prime, but you can end up purchasing a generation one variety, a Beast Wars Optimus Primal, or the movie variant of the character. When you start your Transformer –seeking process, be sure to take a look at the type that you’ll be buying.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Transformers will always have a special spot in the hearts of many people around the world. Whether you’re simply a collector to a person who wants to extend the joy of their youth to a brand new generation, this toy series will continue to spark the imaginations of myriads of enthusiasts. Take a look at all of our picks, consider our pre-purchase guidelines, and find the bot that works best for you. Our only question is: Will you pick a robot that represents the nefarious Decepticons, or the heroic Autobots?